5 things marketers should do today to reduce their cybersecurity risk

RSA's chief marketing officer talks about why marketers are now in the business of IT security and how to minimise risk in the face of digital marketing transformation

Marketers must not only be in the business of IT today, they need to be in the business of IT security.

That’s the view of RSA Security’s CMO, Holly Rollo, who spoke at this week’s Marketo Marketing Nation summit about why marketers need to up the ante on their understanding of cybersecurity in the face of increased marketing technology investment and digital transformation.

RSA’s CMO Digital Transformation Study, which is being released this week, found the marketing function has low awareness and understanding of cybersecurity. Yet marketing is considered the function most likely to cause a security incident, according to 75 per cent of IT departments. The research also found 45 per cent of incidents they have today were something to do with marketing technology or the marketing function.

“According to Gartner, we’re spending more money on IT than the technology department, which means we’re in the business of IT, And if we’re in the business of IT, we’re in the business of security,” she told attendees.

There are a number of reasons why, Rollo said. Firstly, three-quarters of marketers and IT executives surveyed agreed marketing is knowingly using IT workarounds and shadow IT as they build out their marketing technology systems. In addition, security is not a major decision factor in evaluating vendors for the marketing function, she said. Data sensitivity, impact threshold and protocols are not well understood, either.

Rollo pointed to the startup nature of many of the martech and adtech platforms in the market today, noting half the companies listed on Scott Brinker’s infamous martech lumascape are less than two years old.

RSA’s research also found 42 per cent of CMOs are not involved in cybersecurity discussions, while only 37 per cent report having a breach communications plan.

“What marketing doesn’t know is the protocols in the event of a breach, what types of sensitive data they have, how their infrastructure works, where it is, and who is monitoring it if anyone, and how long it will take to complete their digital transformation,” she said. “The irony is if you cause the breach, you are also responsible for the PR to try and fix it.”

The business implications can be severe. Rollo noted 80 per cent of investors would be discouraged from investing in a hacked company. “You need to know the risk you’re putting your organisation in as you go through digital transformation.”

To help, Rollo provided a checklist of five things marketers can do to minimise their exposure to security risks. The first is to increase their cyber awareness and better understand the risk.

“Understand what’s going on and share what you learn with your peers,” she advised.

Rollo’s second piece of advice is to take accountability for the security of your marketing technology by asking the question of both vendors as well as third-party suppliers such as integrators and implementers. It’s also important to make security a key decision factor when choosing vendors.

Another big one is to partner with IT on your roadmap and monitoring strategy. “Some companies I talk from a marketing standpoint will have a three-year plan, and might be doing the website now, progressive profiling and some scoring... but don’t have a plan for next year,” Rollo said. “Wherever you are, make a plan and document it, and share it with IT so they can properly resource it.

“Part of the problem is IT is thinking about their core infrastructure, their network, and also in terms of major implementations like ERP, CRM or HR. When we think of marketing systems, we’re not using that language... we’re saying we’re implementing this scoring tool, for example. But IT needs to understand we’re implementing an entire platform, that it’s going to take three years and could include 45 tools. Then they can resource it properly.

“I’m not convinced that as marketers, we’re asking for help in the right way.”

Rollo’s final piece of advice is to advocate or create a breach communication plan. “I doubt DNC [Democratic National Committee] thought it was a target,” she said, referencing the party’s exposure to cyberattack in 2015 and 2016. “Any company is a target. You may not be interesting, but you may know someone who is.”

  • Nadia Cameron travelled to Marketo Marketing Nation as a guest of Marketo.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

Are you sure they wont start a platform that the cheese is white, pretty sure that is racist

Hite

New brand name for Coon Cheese revealed

Read more

Real digital transformation requires reshaping the way the business create value for customers. Achieving this requires that organization...

ravi H

10 lessons Telstra has learnt through its T22 transformation

Read more

thanks

Lillian Juliet

How Winedirect has lifted customer recency, frequency and value with a digital overhaul

Read more

Having an effective Point of Sale system implemented in your retail store can streamline the transactions and data management activities....

Sheetal Kamble

​Jurlique’s move to mobile POS set to enhance customer experience

Read more

I too am regularly surprised at how little care a large swathe of consumers take over the sharing and use of their personal data. As a m...

Catherine Stenson

Have customers really changed? - Marketing edge - CMO Australia

Read more

Blog Posts

Brand storytelling lessons from Singapore’s iconic Fullerton hotel

In early 2020, I had the pleasure of staying at the newly opened Fullerton Hotel in Sydney. It was on this trip I first became aware of the Fullerton’s commitment to brand storytelling.

Gabrielle Dolan

Business storytelling leader

You’re doing it wrong: Emotion doesn’t mean emotional

If you’ve been around advertising long enough, you’ve probably seen (or written) a slide which says: “They won’t remember what you say, they’ll remember how you made them feel.” But it’s wrong. Our understanding of how emotion is used in advertising has been ill informed and poorly applied.

Zac Martin

Senior planner, Ogilvy Melbourne

Why does brand execution often kill creativity?

The launch of a new brand, or indeed a rebrand, is a transformation to be greeted with fanfare. So why is it that once the brand has launched, the brand execution phase can also be the moment at which you kill its creativity?

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

Sign in